This Sussex locational name is found in a wide variety of spellings, all largely the result of local dialectal pronunciation. The origin is old English pre 7th Century although the first recording known i.e. "Balecumba", is not until 1121 in the Ancient Charters of the county. The name is believed to mean "the valley of the calamity" and perhaps refers to an Ancient British battle site or similar, although it is also possible that "Bale" is a shortened form of "Baelgloc" - a personal name. The surname development includes Marga Baukham, christened at St. Giles church, Cripplegate on April 7th 1661, Marga was the daughter of Richard Bawkom (below) and Elizabeth Baulcomb, who married Richardo Plimpton at St. Olaves, London in February 3rd 1725. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Bawkom, which was dated 1659, witness at St. Giles Church, Cripplegate, during the reign of Richard Cromwell, "The Lord Protector's son" 1658 - 1659. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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